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Presumed Innocent

Posted By Alex Belth On February 27, 2008 @ 6:23 pm In Bronx Banter | Comments Disabled

In this week’s Voice, the always provocative Allen Barra weighs in [1] on Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens (but mostly, Andy Pettitte):

Why hasn’t Andy Pettitte heard from MLB, and why hasn’t there been talk of a suspension? In his deposition to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Pettitte admitted that his father injected him with HGH in 2004. (And surely the most bizarre single piece of evidence to emerge during the entire hearing process is that Pettitte’s dad stuck a needle in his son’s ass.) In admitting this, Pettitte was in effect also admitting that he had lied to the Mitchell Commission—and thus to Major League Baseball—about the extent of his drug use.

Moreover, Pettitte was admitting to a crime. Though HGH wasn’t banned from baseball under the Basic Agreement existing at the time—it wouldn’t be added to the list of prohibited substances until 2005—it was and remains illegal unless prescribed for one of three rare diseases. Pettitte has clarified that he used HGH without a prescription. This means that he has admitted to the illegal use of HGH not once but twice, in 2002 and 2004. So where are MLB, the FDA, and the FBI?

It’s easy to see who doesn’t want to have this issue delved into: Pettitte, who stands to lose a one-year, $16 million contract with the Yankees, and the Yankees themselves. Having been snookered by Omar Minaya and the Mets in the Johan Santana deal, the pitching-hungry Yankees are desperate to hold onto Pettitte, the only capable left-hander on the staff. And there are other parties anxious for closure on the Pettitte story, namely commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball.

Allen’s a living, breathing, barroom argument waiting to happen. What do you make of his latest take?


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[1] Allen Barra weighs in: http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0809,315229,315229,2.html

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